Diary 4 – Continue with the Ghibli Storyteller dress

Hi everyone! πŸ˜€

I am suuuuuper behind on all things Ghibli dress atm diary wise, so this is kind of a little catch up on what i’ve been doing but bare in mind that I have done more than what will be in this entry.

So last time i blogged about my Ghibli dress it was very white and it had no characters in the sky section of the dress. Well I started to draw all the ‘sky’ characters onto the dress. I started with the Laputa Castle in the Sky characters Sheeta and Pazu and then I moved on to putting on Porco Rosso flying around in his plane πŸ˜€

Sheeta and Pazu

Porco Rosso in his plane

From there i moved onto drawing on the characters from My Neighbours the Yamada’s floating on a cloud

The Yamadas

Shizuku went on from Whisper of the heart and actually at this point I had realised that I had forgot Naussica which really annoyed me but since this realisation I managed to squeeze her on the dress.

Howl and Sophie were also in the sky section of my list because i wanted to draw them floating across the sky together like at the start of the movie Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki and Gigi from Kiki’s delivery service went on next to the stream of soot sprites (which i’ll talk about in a second and above them I drew Haku and Chihiro from Spirited Away

Kiki and Gigi

Haku and Chihiro

The soot sprites from Spirited Away i wanted to make a feature of on this dress as I love them so much, so i made a sooty trail that starts from the bath house on the hill and is blown up into the sky area and right around up the chest and along the strap. I really like the way this turned out and i think its super cute ❀

I had also added the last of the characters to the land and put the base colour for the grass onto the entire dress. The characters that were added since the last diary entry were, Seita and Setsuko – Grave of the Fireflys, The Cat Bus – My Neighbour Totoro, a lot of characters from the film Only Yesterday, From Up on Poppy Hill and The Wind Rises

The start of the base grass green going on

More work on the grass green

Here you can see my additions from Only yesterday, Grave of the Fireflys and From up on Poppy Hill

Cat Bus addition to the land area

And here is a pic as it stood a while back, since this colour started to go on the sky so I will blog about it asap.

So yeah this is what I had done and failed to blog about sworry ^_^’ but I’ve been super busy trying to get it all finished and the headpiece ready for the masquerade at the London MCM expo in October. I am curious as to what everyone thinks about it, why not leave me a comment? I hope you guys enjoyed this little update, sorry its more picture heavy but i am trying to catch up with myself blog wise XD

Rushing like a mad woman to finish ~ Otakugirl


All the things!

I know I haven’t written anything for the blog lately but MAN have I been super busy. I have got so much going on at the minute with regards to cosplay, that I never seem to have any time to do much else apart from make things. I love it don’t get me wrong but it means I kinda dropped the ball on blogging for a while so I thought I would come back to it with a run down of what I am up to atm πŸ˜€

So I’ll start with the current projects for Octobers MCM expo in London. For the Saturday of the expo I have started to make a Ellen Ripley cosplay from the 1st Alien movie. The first thing I actually ordered was the wig, and this thing only took 5 days to get here from America and man oh man is it beautiful. You wouldn’t believe how much searching it took to find the perfect wig for Ripley that I was actually happy with and actually had to get Luna Hawke and some other friends to help me look.

Ripley Reference

My Ripley Wig

Side/back of Ripley wig

All the parts to make the actual suit have been ordered, the grey, patches, zips and shoe laces to lace up the back. I also got my hands on a nerf rifle that I am going to modify into the flamethrower. Depending on how it turns out looks wise I may even write a tutorial on what nerf gun I used and what I did to make it work. Ive got really great reference pics for this and hopefully when I’m done with it, it will look like this πŸ˜€

Flamethrower from Alien

The second cosplay for October is my Ghibli dress, and there will be a separate update to this one soon. Its just a case of getting everything together πŸ˜€

I have also started to make my cosplays for next May’s MCM expo in London, which are Sumomo Akihime from Nanatsuiro Drops and a big sister from Bioshock 2. I’ve started these cosplays because the big sister is quite a big undertaking and I want to have plenty of time to get it done just the way I want it.

Sumomo Akihime reference

Big Sister Reference

The only thing I have managed to do for Sumomo so far is make my Yuki plushie, which I am really happy with. He’s made of just felt and a left over bell that I had in my sewing stash. He only took me about a couple of hours to put together

My Yuki plushie πŸ˜€

My big sister however is further along. I have started to make a paper mache helmet. Using a giant football that I got from a local beach shop, I have started to cover the ball in layers of paper mache, so far its had about two layers.

I’ve also got hold of the leather that I need for the corset and such. I got an offcut from the Yorkshire trading post in Louth for Β£4 and its quite large, the reason I got it so cheap was coz its ‘damaged’ but to be honest its only got a few minor holes in it and that doesn’t matter since my version of the big sister will be a little bit more worn that the reference pics anyway.

I also wanted a little sister to go with this cosplay and when I mentioned it to my little sister in real life she said that she liked the idea of cosplaying as a little sister so she’ll be coming with me next May as one. I also wanted to have a little sister in my basket (like in game) that is mounted to the back of the big sister. The more I thought about this idea the more I wanted to do it, so I started on making a custom doll. She’s 3ft tall and she was actually given to me for free πŸ˜€ free is always best lol.

Doll as she was when she was given to me

The first thing I did was take her head off, clean her down because she was VERY dirty, throw her old clothes away and then I could begin transforming her into my little sister. My mum actually came up with the idea of her eyes lighting up which I LOVED this idea, so unfortunately for her, her eyes had to come out. This took me a while as her eyes were in these moulded socked which I had to cut out of her head. Once she was eyeless, off came her hair. My plan was to try and sort it out and dye it black but it was too matted to fix. So shes bald and waiting on a new wig lol. Then her head and her body went outside to get sprayed a nice grey shade like in my reference pictures. Whilst painting her, I think I must have scared the neighbours XD with it sat on the garden table like it was

Little sister – Bioshock 2

Head after having eyes removed and being sprayed

Body after painting and adding off dress but before i added all the dirt and blood, still needs collar on dress

Once she was sprayed she got a new face painted on and nice long eyelashes added.

After she was app sprayed up she got a new outfit. I made a nice little blue dress with a white apron addition and then tore the heck out of it and tea stained it to give it that dirtied effect and added paint ‘dirt’ and bloodied her up with red. The dress still isn’t finished, I still have to add the white collar to it. Then taking the head, I added orange film that’s used to tint car lights into the inside of the head at the back of the eyes so that when the lights were in her eyes would glow orange/yellow. Then I bought a set of Β£1 fairy lights and pushed them through a whole in the back of her head one by one and then hid the battery pack for her down the back of her dress. I have showed this to my friends and their reaction was she was very scary which I am SUPER SUPER happy with because that’s how a little sister should be in my opinion πŸ˜€

Little sister progress minus new hair and collar on dress

Preview of glowing eyes in action πŸ˜€

I am also going to CamCon in Cambridge in a few weeks but have yet to decide what cosplay i am wearing. I am also working on 2 different versions of princess Anna from Frozen for this year and next. I am hoping to enter my big sister in next Mays masquerade and fingers crossed my Ghibli dress in Octobers masquerade. So please come and support me if you are coming to the expo in October and what does everyone think to the little sister so far? ~Otakugirl

Coronation dress

Travelling Anna

Luna: What’s In the Box?

So you want to make a cosplay? You know what you want to make, you’ve chosen that Character you love from the series you just finished watching but you have no idea what you need? Β WEll this blog is just a basic kit guide of things you may want to have in your Cosplay Box. Some things you get through time, you don’t need everything straight off, and don’t get me wrong this isn’t a “This is what you need now go buy it!” blog, this is a decent guide of things that can be good to include in your box, and what they do, mostly for beginners or those who want to remind themselves or buy new things for their box.

Some things like fabric and patterns and the main materials will build up over time, foam included, so we won’t worry about those sorts of things, although they may be mentioned.

Fabric based cosplays! Β these cosplays will need different tools to your armour or prop making boxes. So what do you need?

It sounds obvious but even if you have a sewing machine a small pack of variety of needles is a must, there are needles for everything, and not all sewing machines can sew all fabrics. Needles are also good for tacking (lose stitching everything together before putting it under the sewing machine) , embroidery, buttons and fastenings, small details.

To pin your fabric together before sewing, to pin your pattern to your fabric, To put cut out pieces together and see if it looks good/is right before dedicating hours of sewing it together to find out its not.

You might want to buy your actual thread for your project with your fabric, this way you will always buy the right colour for the fabric, but i like to always keep a reel of black and a reel of white cotton thread in my box, For tacking and other such things such as hidden fastenings.

Tailoring Chalk
Chalk for fabric, To draw your patterns onto the fabric, this rubs and washed off very easily compared to normal chalk so you don’t have nasty lines left behind later as you would with anything else.

I use three pairs of scissors some people more. the three I have are Dressmakers scissors, these are big long bladed scissors specially designed for cutting fabric. Then i have my embroidery scissors. these i use for cutting threads and taking out threads when i make a mistake (some people use other things but this is my preference) the third pair is a general pair for paper, tape, ribbon and pattern cutting so as not to get anything sticky or dirty from the blade of the scissors onto your fabric.

Sounds silly, but an Iron is a great tool, ok it wont fit in your box but having an iron to press your seams before sewing Iron your fabric before cutting makes a BIG difference, and of course ironing it when you’ve finished.

Measuring Tape
A Tailors measuring tape not one of those hard DIY ones for measuring shelves and furniture. one for measuring you and your fabric I personally also have a yard ruler (a wooden one) for fabric and pattern making but a tailors one will do.

Old Clean Tea Towel
A strange one no? This is for ironing. Lay it over your fabric if you think it is delicate (like ribbon to stop it from melting), and/or to stop you getting marks from the iron onto your fabric.

To make your own patterns with, or adjust existing ones.

Well you have to keep it all somewhere right? I have several boxes, a box for fabric, a box for foam and crafty bits, and another for the sewing side, all with lots of compartments in for pins and needles to be kept separately, a mini toolbox from a hardware store, or a small make up travel box works amazingly well. this means you can also take it to cons with you if its a small box, for those handy repairs!


Sewing machine
Sewing MAchines are not necessary but boy do they speed things up, or help you if you’re not good at hand sewing, but remember with this to get spare needles bobbins etc. And not all sewing machines will do all fabrics and cover all types of sewing. If you’ve not used one before, Practice first!

Hemming Tape
Hemming tape is great if you’re in a urry, or want to seal the hems together before you sew. It is an iron on tape that binds fabric together, no i don’t suggest using it on your whole costume, its not that strong. but it will help it all look tidier.


Armour Cosplays, there are some extra bits and pieces, Depending on what materials you are planning to use.


PVA is great to water down for paper mache but its best use with armour making is for priming and coating foam to make it more armour like. Β and helping it keep its shape once its moulded and formed. also great for priming wonderflex.

Wallpaper Paste
In my opinion Wallpaper paste cheap as chips and is THE best to use for paper mache, its strong, it holds, and you can sand it without stringy attachments of any kind. Think if it can hold heavy weight wallpaper on the walls for many many years, double the strength, a few layers and its quite sturdy for props and armour.

And possibly some pliers (wire cutters). you need seperate ones from your fabric, the glue and materials are thicker and colours transfer and what not. so you need a pair for being dirty! but remember they need to be strong and sturdy.

Hot air gun
Or a really good hair drier. for forming foam and thermoplastics. Alternatively though you can also use boiling hot water, but which ever just be careful not to burn or scold yourselves.

Glue gun
Glue gun gives instant results and glues things some glues just won’t.

Super Glue
The all powerful! for plastics and stuff, that would melt under hot temperatures, also good for your con quick fix bag.

Black Paint
Black paint is great for making things look older like a rub and buff in a way. But the best thing is if you are after a metallic look, paint your prop or armour black first, then put the metallic on over top, it will look so much more metallic shinier and an overall better result.

Bottle filled with water
Wait what? Yeah! this bottle is your tool for foam and thermoplastic forming! Its a great help trust me, and it saves you from burning your arms and legs.

Masking Tape
Masking tape to make patterns for armour and/or your own dress form (duct tape works well too, its also handy for when you use expanding foam to cover up holes or smooth off edges before using papier mache or worbla or anything else of the like.

Well I hope that helps even just a little bit, I will be writing more about other materials and what they are later on, so keep an eye out!

Rapunzel’s Time at Birmingham MCM expo 2014

Hey everyone, the first thing I wanna say is sorry that my blogs have been few and far between atm. I moved house and everythings been up in the air and then the first of the cons started so its busy busy busy, but I am hoping to have my next Ghibli dress Diary up at the weekend…fingers crossed. So with that said……

Recently I went down to the Birmingham MCM expo at the NEC and I had a lot of fun. The day started out getting up at 5am so that I could transform myself into Rapunzel for the trip down. So with my costume ready and everything packed up it was time to go!

Rapunzel cosplay πŸ˜€

Travelling down with my best friend Phil, we made our way half asleep to another friends house to pick him up. This was cool for me because I hadn’t seen this friend for like 10 years and after picking up Gary we were on the road to the NEC! The car ride was pretty awesome, thinking it was gonna be all awkward but it wasn’t lots of laughs and randomness ensued.

My friends Gary (left) and Phil – cosplaying Brendan from pokemon (right)

When we arrived we were confronted with the usual expo awesomeness, but even though we set off early and i figured we’d be late arriving we had arrived before it had even opened so we jumped in the queue. There were so many cosplayers there which always makes me happy to see :D. We spent most of the morning going around the stalls and buying up as much loot as we could get our hands on πŸ˜› I bought a butt ton of stuff including a HUGE Piccolo plush from Dragonball Z.

We milled about for quite a while and then it was time for the guys to get more money so they left me outside the halls waiting for them. This was a really new experience to me because I have never had such a response to a cosplay before. I had sooo many children saying ‘look mummy/daddy its Rapunzel’ and smiling and waving at me. One little girl came up to me had her photo taken with me and I gave her a Rapunzel doll much to her parents surprise and her brother a load of sweeties. I don’t think they could quite believe that I was actually giving it to her and I hope in doing so I made her day brighter :D. Sadly I could not meet the prize winner at the expo to give her her prize, but she now has it and I hope she’s enjoying her Pascal plush. Lunch time came and it was time to chill and grab a subway YUMMY YUM YUM!

Chilling after all the walking with ALL THE LOOTS!

I also spent the day giving out loads of haribo to random peeps and i met a lot of really cool cosplayers, sadly me being the spoon that I am I couldn’t find the Disney meetup I was supposed to be going to and this really upset me because i missed out on getting some pictures with some really cool people. But apart from that there was no end of really nice people complementing me on my cosplay and one lovely girl (Julia Hemmings) who thought my shoes were awesome!

Me as Rapunzel with Julia Hemmings – photo taken by her friends at the expo

SELFIES WITH A PRINCESS! Me as Rapunzel with Julia Hemmings – Selfie taken by her XD

Disney Selfie! Me as Rapunzel with Katherine Ann Hemmings as Alice

Me as Rapunzel with my Giant Piccolo

Whenever I go to MCM expo’s I always meet such great people, theres always loads to do and its a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the next one in May, to which I will now be wearing my female Edward Kenway cosplay and my lolita outfit…. sadly not my Ghibli dress as I now plan on entering it in the masquerade at SunnyCon (fingers crossed).

Female Edward Kenway cosplay for May MCM expo 2014

Thank you to all the people who made my day at the MCM expo amazing πŸ˜€ Getting ready for the next one ~ Otakugirl

Gallifrey One 25 (2014)

This past February I went on my yearly pilgrimage to Los Angeles and the Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One. Β I am not the best with words but I hope you will enjoy the pictures and commentary πŸ™‚

The annual Gallifrey One Pond Paradox (there was another later with Arthur Darvill but I don’t have photo permission for those).


This is a group I am part of The Brotherhood of Harkness, I am Ada Gillyflower in this shot.


Several Generations of Cybermen.


In Order here Tasha Lem, black and white tardis, and the tenth Doctor at kareoke.

Β 094086071

A group of Osgoods/Captain Jack/Kate Stewart, Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and myself as Tardis.


Ohila (Night of the Doctor), My friend’s interpretation of K-9, Madame de Pompadour.


Daleks (there is a tiny one on the floor), Valentines Dalek (friday of the con was valentines day), Sparkly Master.


The Happiness Patrol, Fifth Doctor (although I am pretty sure he is proof time travel is real), War Doctor/both versions of the Eighth Doctor.


The plushies I created for the art show sale, Feme raggedy man Doctor and myself as the Tardis.


Finally to complete this visual account of Gallifrey One this year ………….. The Tenth Doctor acting like a zombie at kareoke (song was eat your brains)


Hope to give you another amusing visual report next year, much Whovian love, Tari Telrunya πŸ™‚

Tangled in an Idea

Hi guys, first of all I just want to apologise for the fact that I probably won’t get a diary blog out about my Ghibli dress this month as I am in the middle of sorting out the house after a big move. But I didn’t want you all to go without something this month so I decided that because I got all the materials in the post and I bought a new glue gun today I would do a blog about making a tiara for my Rapunzel cosplay from Tangled.

My cosplay is actually the normal purple Rapunzel dress but I have made a cape trimmed with a gold pattern similar to the pattern on the skirt of the dress and I made a custom set of shoes, oh and I’m wearing the short brown hairstyle like at the end of the film.

At first I wasn’t going to bother with a tiara because as Luna Hawke pointed out to me she only wears it (brown hair + tiara) for one scene at the very end of the movie, but i decided to give it a go as I couldnt get one from the Disney Store so this is my blog about how I made it.

Scene at the end of the movie

This is the image of the actual tiara that I used for my reference while i was drawing my template

First things first is what you are going to need if you want to give it a go
– A strong craft wire
– Craft foam
– Gold Spray Paint
– 1 Larger tear shaped gem and 2 slightly smaller (size of your choice)
– 8 small red gems
– 4 small blue gems
– Large bag of fake pearls
– scissors and craft knife
– Hot glue gun

So the first thing I did was make a metal halo. I took a length of wire and bend it around into a circle and kept trying it on my head so that it sat nicely around the back of my head and perched at a nice height on the front of my head. After getting it the right length after a few attempts at making it larger i cut the wire to size, bent the ends in and interlocked them and used a little hot glue to make sure they don’t come apart.

Metal halo that fits my head πŸ™‚

Next I measured from the middle of the halo using a sewing measuring tape to where i thought i would like the front of the tiara to end, in my case i made it seven inches either side of the central point on the halo. Then I got some paper and drew out a 14 inch line and marked the middle. From that I drew the slightly cured bottom line like on the reference image and took one of each gem and one pearl as a size guide to draw out my template. Using my reference image, which was the Disney Store tiara, I started to draw (from the middle) the main gems onto my line by tracing them.

Draw a rough bottom line like the tiara has including the curve that goes up to the centre

Start to trace your gems onto ur tiara using your reference image at all times to make sure they’re all in the right place

Once you have drawn out one side of your tiara pattern you can fold the image in half and trace the other side so both match perfectly. Once you have done this you can cut out the sections that need to be gone and trace those onto the other side and cut those sections out.

Fold in half your drawing and trace other side

I filled in the sections that needed cutting out in blue

It should start like this….

Half cut out sections

And end up like this all cut out and ready to trace onto your craft foam πŸ™‚

All sections that should be gone should be cut out πŸ™‚

Next trace it onto your craft foam, in my case I cut out 3 of them as my craft foam was pretty thin but if yours is quite thick and sturdy then I would just cut two. I cut one out just like the template with all the sections missing and the other two with the main gem parts not cut out. This is so my gems can be recessed into the tiara.

Trace onto craft foam

You should be left with your craft foam cut outs 2 or 3 depending on the strength of ur foam

Take the front foam piece (the one with all the neccesary sections cut out) and glue the bottom of the wire halo to the bottom of the foam tiara piece. Then you want to take the back piece and make a sandwich with the wire and push the back onto the front

Glue the wire to the bottom of the front piece and then sandwich the wire in between the two pieces glueing it in place

It should end up like this

Foam sandwich around the wire all glued in place

The next thing is to do is paint it gold, but before you do make sure all the edges are nice and tidy because there’s no going back after this πŸ˜› Use your scissors and knives to make sure all the edges are nice and smooth and how you want them and then paint!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember though all spray painting and glueing to be done in a well ventillated area!

Going back to your reference image and your template you can start glueing on all the gems like i did πŸ™‚

The start of a million gems πŸ˜›

About half way through…… πŸ˜€

By the end of it you should be left with your tiara. From your original paper template to your gorgeous tiara that doesnt cost very much to make.

All of this doesn’t cost very much to make, all in all it cost me Β£2 for my tear shaped gems, Β£2 for the foam, Β£1 for the paint and a couple of pence for the glue and the wire was free for me but its not very much in your local craft stores.


Now I have a Rapunzel tiara that fits my head perfectly! It doesn’t move when i tilt my head forward as its held on by the dip in the back of my neck and it doesnt fall off backwards but if you have issued with it slipping it can be held in place with some hidden bobby pins down the side of the wire halo. I hope that this tutorial will help some people with their cosplays. Happy cosplay season everyone! ~ Otakugirl

Pandora: Spectra Costume Progress

As a big fan of the Monster High doll series, I’ve wanted to do a costume for ages, but it’s only recently I found an outfit I liked and thought I could actually make!

Official artwork of Spectra Vondergeist

Spectra Vondergeist – Daughter of the Ghosts

Bodice and skirt are well within my skills, and I even have a way to do those killer heels. But more on those in a later post! For now I’m working on the bodice.Β  The first thing I did was to find as much reference material as I could – official and fan art, photos of the doll herself, and even photos of the official kids fancy dress costume.

The first thing I noticed is that the ruffled panel is only on the sides in the box art. and web cartoon. The actual doll just has it at the front. If I was entering a competition or being graded on accuracy I’d add side panels too. But as this is a floor costume and will mostly be seen from the front and back, it’s wasted detail.

Photo of the Spectra doll and accessories

And the actual doll

My initial idea had been to get some wide ribbon, ruffle it, and add it to the front of a cotton cami-top. Sadly I was unable to find wide enough ribbon. But I did get some magenta satin that could be pressed into service.

Measuring the cami and doodling was the next step:

Sketch of Spectra's cami-top

Once I had the measurements I laid out a fabric strip 1.5 times the length of the top and tacked along the edges and up the middle. Then I held the top of the threads taut and slid the excess fabric towards the botton end, creating a ruffled effect. It was a little uneven, but I think it looks nicer than regimented box pleats.

Close up of ruffled magenta satin and tacking

Close-up of the ruffles showing the tacking threads. The card is to stop me pinning to the back of the top!

Pinning the fabric to the top was quite difficult, and more trial and error than skill. And then keeping them in place when machine sewing the strip to the cami-top was a major challenge. It was a case of sewing slowly, and rearranging the ruffles as I went to counter any drag or shifting.

It’s currently sewn to the cami-top, and hemmed at the top and bottom. The next step will be to finalise the stitching up the middle. And then I’ll work on the wet-look fabric to tidyly border the ruffled panel. After that we’ll look at the shoulder straps, then move on to the skirt!

Cami-top with ruffles sewn on, hanging up on display.

Current state of play